Photojournalist Lika Zakaryan working in Stepanakert, photo by David Gahramanyan, Civilnet.

Overnight and throughout the day of October 13, Stepanakert had a break from shelling that continued for more than two weeks prior. But at the frontline, the Defense Army reported “offensive operations” by Azerbaijan accompanied by artillery fire, as well as return fire by the Armenian side.

A statement issued on behalf of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu referred to his conversations with counterparts from Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, stressing the need “to achieve the immediate cessation of hostilities” in Karabakh. The statement said that the minister was particularly concerned about “terrorists from Middle East being transferred to Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone” and raised the issue with Turkey’s Hulusi Akar.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called for a ceasefire, specifically urging an end to attacks against major population centers, such as Ganja and Stepanakert. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden issued a statement, criticizing the Trump administration for its passivity on Karabakh, suggesting it should get more engaged. For its part, the OSCE Minsk Group called on parties to agree on a cease-fire verification mechanism.

In his evening press conference, the Armenian Defense Ministry’s Artsrun Hovannisyan reiterated the point that the cease-fire was not working and said that pitched battles continued around Karabakh. He said that collection of the dead servicemen, agreed as part of the cease-fire only, occurred in one single area, “but not for long as the ceasefire was violated.”